By costs (title) I don't mean like self-sacrificing costs (although I guess there are some?) but I mean literal costs because I hear a lot about how expensive it is to live organically. I, in fact, used to say that a lot. In a lot of ways it is true. I can pay $3 for shampoo with parabens or I can pay $9 for all natural shampoo. That's definitely a cost increase.
But I think as the demand for organic products increase, the overall cost will decrease. I find this is true with food especially. It used to seem impossible to find organic milk at any big grocery store and now it's common place to see a section of organic cereal at Walmart (which is where I find a lot of my organic food) and it's cheaper there than at a health food store. So see, costs are already going down. But I'd also think that, in some ways, living green can actually save you money. I'd like to list some of those..or at lease some ways to get back the six extra dollars you spent on shampoo.
1) Turn up your thermostat. Is there any reason most US homes need to be 70 degrees 365 days a year? We'll pay $30 extra dollars a month and use tons of extra energy to make sure we don't even feel warm. The aim: perfect comfort. However, if your willing to forfeit just a little of that, there is no telling how much you can save on your utility bill. Set your thermostat at around 78 degrees on a hot day and run a fan if you get hot! It takes a lot less energy!
2) Pick your food battles. As much as I would love to buy all of my food organic, I can't afford that! And from what I hear, that is the way a lot of people feel. So I have a choice to make: Do I not buy anything organic just because I can't afford everything organic? No! Of course we think that sounds ridiculous but that's what we often do. So pick the most important foods to eat organically and then make the others your preference. What are the most important foods? Meat, Dairy products, coffee, peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale (I know no one that eats this), leafy greens, grapes, carrots, and pears. Some non-organic options: Pineapple, watermelon, onion, sweet corn, and broccoli. For more info: google "The Dirty Dozen" or visit the EWG website.
3) Track your water consumption. 30 minute hot showers down fall under "green living" or "saving money". So if you care about either one...limit your water usage. Taking a 10 minute warm shower will save you a lot more time, money and energy. The same principle applies to washing dishes, brushing your teeth, doing laundry etc. Try washing your clothes in cold water and hang drying them. It saves money and leaves your clothes smelling fresh!
4) Think reduce, reuse, recycle. You may think this one's outdated because they taught it to you when you were three but this concept still makes tons of sense and can save you a lot of money. Reduce - think buying a 5 gallon bottle of refillable water instead of a 24pk of individually bottle water. Or buy a couple nice glass bowls instead of using cheap plastic that will wear down over time. Ask yourself, before you buy, what the impact of this purchase will be. Can you reuse or recycle your purchase? Reuse - Find a creative way to reuse your cleaned pasta jars. Turn your old newspaper into wrapping paper. Empty ice cream gallons make great wash tubs. Most things can be reused and it's a great way to get your creative juices flowing! Recycle- this is a no brainer.
5) Saving money over a lifetime. Most people, well most 22 year old's, don't think enough about how their actions now will affect them when they are 80. Eating healthy and organically will help your body be healthier and stronger. If you goal is to live to be 100 your not going to eat fast food every meal. Eating pesticides, antibiotics and hormones found in almost everything we eat will have a lasting negative effect on our health. Eating whole foods, organic produce and free-range meat will also have a more positive affect on our health.
But in addition to what we eat, our lives are filled with toxins we breath or absorb into our skin. I'm not suggesting we freak out and live our lives in paranoia but if we can do something to further our future..and perhaps save a little money, lets do it! But all that's for another day.
These reminders were so helpful for me and I hope they help any one reading this to be inspired that you can make green changes without spending a fortune. It's one change at a time!